7 April 20 Viet Nam News Source BÌNH PHƯỚC — Authorities in the southeastern province of Bình Phước are tightening measures to prevent forest fires in the dry season as prolonged heat has occurred since the beginning of the year.The province, which has the largest land area in the south, has about 360,000ha of forests and areas zoned for forest cultivation, accounting for 53 per cent of the province's total area.
In Bù Đăng District, the district's Protective Forest Management Board and forest-allocated households are tightening patrols to protect 40,000 forests, mostly bamboo and wooden trees.
Local residents normally enter forests to harvest wild vegetables and they can cause forest fires, according to the management board.
Many warning signs about forest fire risks and prevention have been erected in the district's forests.
The management board has invested in more water containers, pumps, pipes and other firefighting tools.
Lê Hùng, director of the management board, said the management board has set up temporary sheds in forests facing high fire risks. The sheds provide a resting place for forest rangers when they stay in forests.
The management board, in co-operation with forest - allocated households and the Nam Cát Tiên Protective Forest Management Board in the neighbouring province of Đắk Nông, is working around the clock to prevent forest fires.
"In the dry season between January and May, we have to work very hard to prevent forest fires," Hùng said.
In Bù Gia Mập District, the Bù Gia Mập National Park is facing a level five forest fire risk, the highest level.
Springs and other water resources in the park are drying up.
The park, which is considered the green lung of the southeastern region, covers a total area of 26,000ha and has the largest primitive forest in the province. The park has many fauna and flora species like elephants and deer.
Park officials have instructed relevant units to prepare measures to prevent forest fires and fine those who violate forest protection regulations.
Điểu Mép, deputy head of the Bù Dốt Hamlet Community - based Forest Protection Group in the district's Bù Gia Mập Commune, said some people lack awareness about forest fire prevention and control.
"We have to work with forest rangers to make fire breaks in forests and prepare fire fighting tools to be ready when there is a fire," he said.
The province has had five forest fires this year, affecting more than 51,700ha of forest, including 48.5ha of rubber.
The country's largest rubber producer, it has about 200,000ha of rubber.
Most forests in the province face the fifth fire risk level.
The province's People's Committee has ordered relevant departments, agencies and forest owners to work closely to prevent and control forest fires.
People who enter forests which have high fire risk should be strictly managed, said the People's Committee.
All activities that use fires in forests should be temporarily suspended, it said. — VNS